Skullcandy Crusher: The New York Times
March 12, 2013
How many headphones count a threat to “make your eyeballs bleed” as a virtue? At least one, the Skullcandy Crusher, which uses an unusual speaker technology to generate vibrations that are perceived as powerful bass notes.
The Crushers are an over-the-ear enclosed headset, which both accentuates the bass vibrations and muffles what mass transit seatmates are likely to hear.
The trick is that the Crushers turn speaker design on its head. Normally electrical pulses go to a weighty stationary magnet that make a lightweight coil and speaker cone move to produce sound.
In the Crushers, the coil is stationary. It is the heavy magnet that moves, producing vibrations that you can feel. Through a phenomenon known as bone conduction, those vibrations are perceived as powerful bass.
In a test, with the bass adjusted to a medium setting, the sound was a bit less sloppy than usually associated with bass-heavy headphones. The effect worked particularly well with rock, pop and hip-hop – although at full blast, it felt as if my head was inside the kick drum. It was less effective on some older jazz recordings and symphonic music, even dramatic movie music, like Danny Elfman’s “Batman” score.
Although the Crushers enhance the bass, the 40-millimeter driver that handles the rest of the sound spectrum sounded a bit muddy. Individual instruments were indistinct, and higher-pitched sounds, like horns, were muted.
The headphones fit me snugly, sealed well and were comfortable over a half-hour or so. They fold into a compact size for an over-the-ear headphone and come with a fabric carrying case.